Title: Stranger Things.
Story arc: Six.
Writer(s): Jody Houser.
Artist(s): Edgar Salazar.
Inker(s): Keith Champagne.
Colourist(s): Marissa Louise.
Letterer(s): Nate Piekos of Blambot.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: November 26th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Horror, Fantasy, Young-Adult.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Also in the Stranger Things franchise:
Stranger Things: The Other Side by Jody Houser
It’s a joy for fans to see their favourite franchise grow and expand into uncharted territory, trying to not only explore new ways to tell stories set in their universe, to reach new potential audiences for their fanbase, but to also obviously make more money. The Stranger Things Netflix TV series saw its fandom grow incredibly quickly since its release, bringing in a modern cinematographic experience where both horror and fantasy happily held their hands together while also drenched with time-period nostalgia to keep you hooked. Following the first comic book story set in the Stranger Things universe, writer Jody Houser returns with a brand-new prequel story for fans to indulge and it is a step in the right direction.
What is Stranger Things: Six about? This four-part story arc is a prequel to Netflix’s most popular original TV series and follows the story of Francine and her mysterious powers that is of utmost importance for Dr. Brenner of the Hawkins Lab where the secretive MK ULTRA project is conducted to no one’s knowledge. Having had to learn to live with her powers of precognition, she has struggled her whole life with individuals, including her family, continuously using her for their own personal desires. It is during her time in the laboratory that she sees a terrible future brewing for her loved ones and for the residents of Hawkins. But what will she do about it?
“It’s SIX. People here call me SIX.”
— Jody Houser
Unlike Jody Houser’s first attempt at creating a comic book story set in the Stranger Things TV universe by giving us Will Byers’ point of view during the events in season 1, this time around she wasn’t constrained by any of the previously established narratives, allowing her full control over what she wanted to tell. In this story, set in 1978, Francine is at the heart of all the drama with an upbringing filled with neglect and ignorance. The character development is precious, as you feel empathy for her unusual predicament that forces her to please others instead of thinking about her own well-being first. Trust thus becomes a luxury and considering how young she is, she’ll learn the hard way that it isn’t meant to be earned or given naturally. The length of this story doesn’t, however, allow this to have as much depth or impact as it could’ve had.
Following the usual themes of friendship and family, the story doesn’t fail in staying loyal to the show’s nature and in giving fans a decent prequel chapter in this fantastic universe. Artist Edgar Salazar also does an incredible job in this story arc, allowing the art to capture the eerie yet familiar atmosphere of this franchise. The fact that the story also relies heavily on the emotional state of the characters with a lot less dialogue through the giant panels, it’s safe to say that artist Edgar Salazar masterfully captured those expressions. Praise should also be given to inker Keith Champagne and colourist Marissa Louise who have flawlessly given this story arc an artistic edge.
Stranger Things: Six is an original prequel to the hit TV franchise offering comic book fans insight into the paranormal scientific discoveries uncovered in the midst of the Cold War right in Hawkins.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!
The hit Netflix original series that took the world by storm is now in its fourth season, currently in development! Have you started this series? Are you excited for the next season?